On June 30th, the Fort Greene Park Conservancy and the Brooklyn Hospital partnered to beautify the corridor between Dekalb Avenue and Fort Greene Place, connecting the hospital campus to the park both aesthetically and physically. Staff members at the Brooklyn Hospital—as part of their annual community day of service—generously volunteered their time and worked with the FGPC to create a beautiful mural for the fence. The hospital worked on the mural as part of its Good Neighbors campaign, designed to support community-focused programs—and to celebrate a joint artistic endeavor with its park neighbors.
The 50’ by 6’ mural depicts a gorgeous panorama of what Fort Greene may have looked like in the 18th century. The project was guided by the vision and assistance of local artist Mackenzie Younger, who provided the design for the mural, prepared the materials, and led volunteers on the day of the project. A tennis windscreen serves as a somewhat unconventional canvass, chosen for its durability, strength, and resistance to wind and weather. Below are several photos that show the joint collaboration between the park and the hospital—the first of many more to come.
The project kicked off once the tennis windscreen was secured to the ground and the volunteers arrived. Brushes were brought out and the paints were mixed and distributed. I watched as Mackenzie pointed out which colors we would use, and where to apply them. Mackenzie made small splashes of colors on the empty regions to guide volunteers on what colors to paint, and soon white spaces became beautiful rivers, hills, trees, and sky.
Once we knew where to paint, the volunteers went right to work. The canvas was filled with colors that began to take shape. What was once an amorphous, blank scene transformed into the familiar landscape of Brooklyn and the East River. I found myself amazed as outlines turned into green hills and trees with brown trunks and branches. The landscape required a surprisingly specific number of colors. The trees in the foreground were a dark chestnut color, while the trees in the middle ground required a lighter sienna brown. The hills beyond the river were a darker moss green compared to the foreground’s grass, which seemed lighter as if illuminated by a sun not seen in the landscape.
Mackenzie flitted constantly around the group, guiding which areas to paint next, highlighting details, and correcting any mistakes made by the amateur painters. Always patient, he seemed pleased by the way his creative idea was coming into fruition. Near completion, Mackenzie stationed himself at the mural’s bottom left corner to create a lovely design of the Brooklyn Hospital Center’s logo to commemorate the enterprising artists and their service.
After about three hours, the mural was finished. Over the course of the morning, dozens of curious passersby came and went, walking around the perimeter and peering at the work. Folks who came by during the early stages of the painting wore significantly more puzzled faces than those who came later, able only to see the faint, shapeless outlines. Now everyone is able to see the mural hanging from the fence between the Brooklyn Hospital Center and Fort Greene Park in the park’s southwest corner. We’d like to thank the Brooklyn Hospital and its Good Neighbor initiative to promote and support community events, Mackenzie Younger for his creative vision, and the volunteers who came from the hospital for their help in the creation of a beautiful mural that the rest of the public and the park community can now enjoy.
FGPC Summer Programming Intern